The fact that we are different, and the fact that all people experience one or more disabilities over the course of their lives, is at the core of universal design. The concept was developed by American architect and wheelchair user Ron Mace in the 1990s. Despite different theoretical approaches and interpretations, the essence is to create solutions which are inclusive by integrating human differences.
During a lifetime, all people experience changing needs and requirements on their surroundings. Universal design does away with the notion that users with specific needs must have separate solutions. The value-based design concept instead aims to create solutions that, as a starting point, must work for all people despite different abilities. The aim is that everyone can participate, and no one is left behind. An aim, also reflected in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in the overarching promise “Leave No One Behind”.
Ostroff, E. (2001) Universal Design: An Evolving Paradigm, In Preiser, W.F.E. and Smith, K.H. (Eds.)
Universal Design Handbook pp 1.3-1.11, First edition, 2001, McGraw-Hill.
Story M.F (2001) Principles of Universal Design. Universal Design Handbook, Edited by: Preiser,
W.F.E & Ostroff, E. New York: McGraw-Hill. Chapter 10, 10.1–10.17.
Steinfeld, E. and Maisel, J. (2012) Universal Design, Creating Inclusive Environments, Wiley.